Legislative changes prepared by a working group
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) set up a working group in 2013 to develop the benefits and financing of the Seafarers' pension system. The working group presented a unanimous proposal in the summer of 2014. The working group was set up due to a suggestion from another working group that was set up in 2013 by the Ministry of Finance to investigate the operating conditions, aid policies and adaptation measures related to shipping. The working group's responsibilities were thus related to a larger project examining state aid to the shipping industry.
The working group's goal was to investigate and present a proposal on how the benefits and financing of the seafarers' pension system can be changed to better correspond to those of the TyEL pension system. While formulating the proposal, the working group also had to consider the current and future pension obligations of the seafarers' pension system.
The purpose of the working group was to develop seafarers' pension benefits and their funding so that they would better match those of the TyEL pension insurance. Another goal was to reduce the long-term costs and state involvement of the seafarers' pension system.
The labour market organizations' pension agreement
The seafarer's pension reform working group met once more in the fall of 2014 due to the pension agreement reached by the labour market organizations in October 2014. The pension agreement had two immediate effects on the working group's proposal: the transitional period for seafarers' lowered retirement age was extended to 9 years and the pension contribution deductions aka PTEL deductions do not apply to seafarers.
The most important change in the pension agreement concerns retirement ages. In addition, the pension accrual rates are changing and statutory pension schemes, including the MEL, will include new pension forms.
Legislative changes approved by the parliament
In January 2015, the parliament approved the seafarer's pension act and the related amendments and regulations. The new seafarers' pension act will enter into force on 1.1.2016. The changes that will be made to all pension systems due to the pension agreement have been approved by the parliament in November 2016 and will enter into force on 1.1.2017.
After these recent changes and the long transition period, seafarers' pension schemes will be similar to those of other professions.